9 activists supporting Luisita farmers’ agrarian claims released
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines—Seven agrarian reform advocates and two staff members of Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap’s office were released at 6 p.m. on Thursday after three days of detention for allegedly destroying three security outposts in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac province during a fact-finding mission.
Lawyer Jobert Pahilga, counsel of what has been called the “Luisita 9,” said a judge in Tarlac allowed his clients to go after they posted bail for malicious mischief and direct assault, which the Tarlac Development Corp. and the Tarlac City police filed in separate complaints.
The nine who were freed after posting P4,000 in bail each were Anakpawis spokesman Danilo Ramos, Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) chair Florida Sibayan, artists Ericson Acosta and Kerima Tariman, Hicap’s driver Rene Blazan, Hicap’s staff Karl Mae San Juan, human rights volunteer Ronald Matthew Gustillo of Karapatan and agrarian reform beneficiaries Luz Versola and Angelina Nunag, Pahilga said.
Hicap and Australian nun Patricia Fox were not charged but they stayed with the nine until their release.
The nine were arrested while gathering facts about supposed irregularities in the implementation of agrarian reform in the estate owned by the family of President Aquino.
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